CINCINNATI - A new report from Better Together Cincinnati (BTC) suggests that progress is being made to bridge the gap between the city’s black and white residents, but a great deal of work remains.
The BTC document said funding remains a major challenge to continue the work done between 2001 and 2011 and steady leadership is needed so issues aren’t addressed in a crisis mode. “Cincinnati in Black & White” looked at changes the Queen City has experienced since the civil unrest of April, 2001.
In 2003 the CAN Commission (Cincinnati Community Action Now) recommended programs in four areas to address the causes of the unrest.
Better Together Cincinnati was charged with raising the money to implement those programs. By the end of 2011 more than $7.0 million will have been raised and $6.5 million spent. However, the goal was to raise $20 million.
POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS HAVE IMPROVED
Community Problem Oriented Policing (CPOP) was instituted by the Collaborative
Agreement and Memorandum of Agreement. CPOP is considered the normal way
police conduct business in Cincinnati. Police/community relations are different
and better now.
RACE RELATIONS ARE IMPROVING, BUT PROGRESS IS SLOW
There is more discernable social integration, but it’s not palpable. At an emotional
subjective level, race relations are more positive than they have been in a long time.
There is a perception of greater tolerance, but some people give lip service to inclusion and diversity. Without a new crisis or a concerted effort by respected leaders and institutions, many suspect that relations will not rise to the level of public discourse.
A TRACKING SYSTEM IS IN PLACE TO MONITOR RACIAL DISPARITIES RELATED TO POVERTY, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey shows little change the past decade. The city’s population dropped, the ethnic makeup is essentially unchanged and Cincinnati has a higher percentage of African-American residents than the rest of the nation.
More people are living in poverty, there’s been a small increase in the number of adults 25 or older with bachelor’s degrees or higher and the unemployment rate has increased, driven exclusively by increases in black unemployment.
One serious drawback is that much of the data to track racial disparities in the city is not reported separately from data for the region as a whole.
LASTING PROGRAMS ARE IN PLACE TO CONTINUE THE WORK
The Community Police Partnering Center was set up to help establish CPOP in neighborhoods. It’s received more than $4.8 million in funds the past decade, but its annual budget is down from $1 million to $200,000.
The Hard to Serve Initiative was set up for the Urban League and Cincinnati Works
to develop for job training and employment programs. Southwest Ohio Workforce Investment Board works to reduce the gap between available jobs and the people ready to fill them.
The Minority Business Accelerator’s is well established to leverage ongoing support
beyond the initial BTC investment.
In 2011, The Cincinnati Arts & Technology Center will serve more than 400 Cincinnati
public school juniors and seniors considered at-risk to drop out of school. About 2,000
students have participated in the program since its inception.
The Youth Employment and Development Initiative provided 1,200 jobs for teens in its
first two years, but lack of funding resulted in its discontinuation.
Other successful collaborations include the Greater Cincinnati Work Force Network,
Strive, Place Matters and Weathering the Economic Storm.
The report concludes that the job is not over – that race and class are still significant issues in Cincinnati, as they are everywhere.
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